Build for Impact
Reaction Housing System
Having grown up in Mississippi, not far from the Gulf of Mexico, frog senior designer Michael McDaniel knows about the destructive power of hurricanes. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina wiped away entire neighborhoods in New Orleans and along the coast, leaving thousands of people homeless, McDaniel decided to be prepared should it ever happen again. A graphic designer by trade, McDaniel didn’t want to just design another awareness poster. He wanted a solution. Working nights and weekends, he sketched out designs for highly portable, lightweight shelters, he called the Reaction Housing System, an emergency shelter that can be transported from a storage facility to a response site and be set up in a matter of hours.
“This project is a nice reminder that better ways of doing things are out there.”
After coming up with some workable sketches, McDaniel built a prototype in his backyard with materials found at the local hardware store. The result was the first unit in the system: the Exo Shelter.
Exo Shelter Units
The Exo shelter units have estimated manufacturing costs of $5000 or less per unit. The Exos are transported in two pieces to and from deployment sites—a base floor plate and an upper shell. “Think of coffee cups and lids,” says McDaniel. The “lids,” or floors, hold up to 1,000 pounds of water or other ballast to keep the system anchored in case of additional heavy winds. They can also be grouped together in pods and wired to one or more generators—in essence, creating temporary neighborhoods.
The Reaction Housing System is made of a patented, fully insulated plastic, each unit is climate-controlled, can sleep a family of four on bunk beds that fold down from the walls, and provides natural lighting along with several electrical outlets to charge cell phones, weather radios, and televisions. There are no mechanical systems in the Exo shelter units, meaning that they require little to no
maintenance during storage or deployment. This along with their rugged design makes their cost of ownership extremely low over time.
The Reaction Housing System is designed to be completely reusable. After a deployment components are cleaned, packed, and moved back to their long term storage facilities. Components such as the Exos are smartly designed with aluminum and composite materials that are lightweight, strong, nontoxic, and fully recyclable. Reaction is the responsible solution.